Thursday, December 24, 2009

Words from Wednesday

There is one thing I hate about Christmas. (Yes, it is possible for me to hate something about my favourite holiday!) The thing I hate is the feeling I get. . .about not being good enough. I despise the smug (and even condescending) looks people give when their tree is better than mine, when they talk about the presents they are giving to be superior to the measly gift I thought of, when the food I bring might not be sufficient for the caliber of people at the party, when my little tradition isn't extravagant enough. . .yah, you get the picture.

The sad thing about this, is I buy into it all! I listen to it all! I lose my confidence in the Christmas my family and I are trying to have. I actually start to feel like I am doing Christmas wrong!

That is when it is time to think back to the real Christmas story. Aside from all the stuff about the "real meaning of Christmas" being about the birth of our Saviour, I need to look at the characters—the real people—who played such a significant role in unfolding God's plan of redemption for all people.

Look at Mary and Joseph. They came from the lowliest of cities, they were poor, and they were both put into a situation that caused them to lose their respect and dignity. A young pregnant girl could be stoned. The man who took her as his wife was frowned upon. Yet God asked them to be part of His plan, and they said yes.

Look at the shepherds. They got to hear the great words of salvation first-hand from the angels. Them in their fields, probably feeling hungry, cold, and dirty. Them with all their stature and pious standing in society. Yet God asked them to be part of His plan. They dropped everything and went to see the baby.

Look at the wise men. Those nobles from another country. With all the wisdom God revealed to His chosen people over the years, it wasn't the Israelite wise men who went in search of the newborn king, but those from far away. God asked them to be part of His plan, and they followed the star and offered gifts to the baby who would one day save all of God's people.

Look at King Herod. His goal was to get rid of any threats to his power and glory. And so he created a search for this so-called king. He was so consumed with himself and his power that he missed it completely. Missed the chance to be find the baby, to lead all of the people in the way of the Lord, and to receive a free gift of salvation.

Look at baby Jesus. Christ came to this world as a helpless baby, born in a lowly stable, during a time of unrest and fear among "His" people. He came to this world poor and unassuming, but would play the greatest role in all of history—He would save us from our sins—something no person could possibly do. He listened to His Father, He obeyed God and came down from heaven to be a Saviour for all.

This Christmas those are the people I want to reflect on and perceive as important. Those are the voices I want to hear are those that said yes to God and his plan of salvation. I want to hear the voice that is calling me to obey and play a role in His redemption. Those are the voices I want to listen to, and that is the voice that I want to "buy into" this year.

Merry Christmas! Blessings to you as you reflect on the Baby born to be a Savior to us all!

*photo from here

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Baby Burp Blanket Project

I found this great little Baby Burp Cloth Tutorial by Marie at "" This is a great little space. If you are crafty at all, there are some great projects for pretty much everyone there! And the instructions include great photos, too--very helpful!!!

I was looking for some creative baby gifts because there were a few babies to be born. In all honesty, I'm not great gift-giver (Yes, Helen, I know we have had this conversation a bazillion times!!! I don't feel like I am a great gift-giver!). Gift-picking-out is a huge stress for me, so this time I thought I would find something to make instead. In addition, I had a bunch of this cotton material that would work perfectly for this project, so. . .I just had to go buy all the fancy stuff. . .and that is much more exciting anyway!

So. . .here were my instructions. I printed them off, but my daughter has grown fond of cutting and colouring anything and everything. I had to do a little taping to make them read-able!

Here are some of my supplies (I was obviously trying to make a blanket for a girl!)
As for the tutorial, I made some alterations (of course!) I wanted to be a little more creative, so instead of just using quilting binding, I bought some flannel, and made the binding on my own, using 2 inch strips. Very time consuming, but much more funky! I also decided to put binding all the way around the blanket, rather than just on the top and bottom as outlined in the tutorial. I sewed the binding onto one side as you would with a quilt (tried a continuous quilt binding as shown on Hello, my name is Heather and then zigzagged the other side in place (rather than hand-sewing the whole thing. I figured I could get away with that as it was a burp blanket!) One other thing I did was put the "decorations" on one side, rather than one on each side as in the tutorial. I just thought that if there was a chance that the ribbon could get scratchy, then there was still lots of room for "usage." i dilemma-ed over adding two buttons with bows on one end for additional decoration, but then decided that might be a little too much. I might try it on my next one to see how it looks. (See, you also have to understand that I was planning to make this for my friend,thinking I had lots of time to think this over and make all those little decorating decisions, and then she had her baby two weeks early!!!!)
Here it is all rolled up and cute. I added a baby washcloth to the set as well. Maybe next time I will think about whether or not it is worth it to edge the washcloth as well. For this gift, I left it plain, and I don't think it looks so bad!
And here is some of my "boy" stuff. . .since there is a cute little boy who still needs one of these (still-so sorry Noah!), too. Hopefully I'll have some time this Christmas vacation to make a few more of these! (And a few extras to keep on hand for future babies to be born!)

Menu Plan

Menu plan for this week. . .although, everything might get changed up because of Christmas!
Monday-Thai chicken Stir-fry, Asian noodles
(Okay, so we are really having pizza instead--I was out doing some groceries and it was a cheap-o, fast-o dinner)
Wednesday-Easy Quesadillas, Guacamole (need to make this stuff --and more--for the hubby's FF party, so we're having some for supper!)
Thursday (Christmas Eve)-see below
Friday (Christmas Day)-Cinnamon buns in the morning (that is just how we celebrate birthdays in our house!) and see below
Saturday (Boxing Day. . .and more Christmas)-see below (and guacamole above!)
Sunday- will we even feel like eating today? If so, pancakes it is!
For Christmas celebrations I am to bring appies, so. . .here are a few that might be coming along with us!
(and crackers, tortilla chips, pitas, and veggies)
See more Christmas week MPM at
Wednesday, December 23 Note: I thought I would post a little extra since some of our festivities this year are a little Mexican. . .I found this easy guacamole recipe. . .and there is a little project for kids to try (growing an avocado pit. . .never tried that before!). Thought you might be interested. With this recipe, I added sour cream and a little bit of cumin to make it more "saucy." As for our kids, E liked it, A thought it was green and therefore not good to eat. :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Cute

I thought this was so cute, that I wanted to share this with you. . .
One of my colleagues made this. . .a Christmas Kabob! Very creative; very cute!

Merry Christmas! (And happy Christmas vacation for me!!!)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Words from Wednesday (Devotional Reflections)

Reflections on Isaiah 40

My pastor challenged all of us in the congregation to read Isaiah 40 daily during the Advent season to prepare our hearts to receive our Saviour. While I haven't read this passage daily, I'm trying my best to keep up with this challenge.

When I first read through it, I didn't have too much to respond with. It didn't strike me as a typical "Advent" selection per say, but I'm also no pastor. I got the whole part about "a voice calling" and "preparing the way for the Lord" (vs.3). That part made sense with Christmas approaching. But the rest . . .

Then a few days later I read it in a different light. With a future baby with an odd heartbeat and many little pregnancy complications already—this time when I read through it, I heard a similar voice as Job must have when God finally talked to him. And maybe it was that same voice the Israelites needed to hear, too. I heard verses 6-28 from a God who is powerful over all creation; Who can measure the waters in the hollow of his hand (v.12); Who stretches out the heavens like a canopy (v. 22); Who doesn't need someone to teach him knowledge or truth because that is who He is (v. 14); Who cannot be compared to anything that we, as humans, can understand (v. 18). He's the same God of Job, the same God of the scattered Israelites, and the same God of me. He's the same powerful God who cares about the big things in life, as well as the little things. The same almighty God who has a plan that I (or Job or the Israelites) might not understand, but a God who remains faithful and trustworthy.

The words of verse 21 and 28 stood out to me, too. "Do you not know? Have you not heard?" It was almost as if Isaiah was saying, "Then why aren't you listening? Really listening? Why aren't you believing? Really believing?"

Maybe the first bit about preparing for the Saviour makes a little more sense now. For the Israelites, it wasn't about getting ready for a celebration, but about getting ready for their salvation—getting ready for the glory of the Lord to be revealed and all mankind together seeing it (v. 5). Maybe today we are called to expect it, to see it, to trust it, to believe it. Maybe today we need that renewed strength to do just that—to expect Him, to see Him, to trust Him, and to believe in Him.

(Photo from

Christmas Craft Afternoon

This past week we had our Christmas Craft Afternoon. Just thought I would show off some of the projects we made in grade one. Each craft is designed to take about 10-15 minutes, so we can do them all in one afternoon.
Here is the Popsicle Stick Star:
Here is the Stocking Christmas Card:
Here is the Snowman Door-hanger or Ornament (or card, I suppose):
Here is one from last time around--Felt Ornaments:
Here is our little craft for our parents, a Popsicle Stick Candle. . .shhh. . .it's a surprise for them! We're not quite done these yet. . .two more days to finish!
And we had a cookie-decorating station. We had students (aka: parents) bring in the cookies, the frosting, and the decorations, and then we went nuts making beautiful cookies for ourselves and our grade four buddies. We will share those cookies with them tomorrow, along with a card we made for them.
Here are our finished snowmen. . .
Here are our drying/finished stars. . .
Here are our cards. . .

Monday, December 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Sorry for my un-faithful blogging! Too busy last week! Here is a go for this week anyway!

Monday-Harvest Soup (Oma's recipe), cheesy bread sticks

Tuesday-Chicken Fajitas (Chili's Recipe)

Wednesday-Perogies and Sausages (I add peppers and other veggies, too)

Thursday (CP)- Gingered Beef, rice, salad

Friday (OAMC)- Chicken Enchiladas, corn

Saturday's Snack-Marshmallow Brownies (Christmas-style)

Sunday (BFS)-French toast, bacon

Snack--My recipe is like this one. . .but not this one. So. . .stay tuned, because I can't find it at the moment. I promise to post it before next Saturday! (I need some kind of celebration/reward for being on Christmas Vacation, and these, topped with Christmas sprinkles, etc, seem like the perfect remedy!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

BIG, Beautiful and Bold

Just thought I'd share a teaching idea that wasn't mine. . .but I use it daily! I believe the Kindergarten teacher at our school went to a workshop once upon a time and got this idea from there. She used, and now I also use, these big posters in the classroom to encourage students to "excel" in their art (drawing and colouring pictures). In grade one, especially at the beginning of the year, pictures are used to tell stories, to be labelled, to add to writing that was completed. . .whatever. So, I try to teach my kids that if you are making a picture, make it "BIG!" After you have made a picture that fills the whole picture space, add details, or make it "Beautiful!" Then once the picture has all the appropriate details, make it "BOLD!" Colour it neatly and completely!
Here are the pictures/posters we use to teach this:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Tree Day

I've been a little busy to blog lately, so I'm playing some catch-up today!

December 1st (or the weekend/Sunday nearest to that has traditionally been our Christmas Tree Day. This year we had the help of two "experts" on Christmas and Christmas trees! (I wonder how my hubby and I ever decorated for Christmas before now!)
Somehow, we managed to get all the boxes pulled out, all the lights put up, all the garlands placed just right, all the decorations hung. . .
Here are our little "experts" piling all the decorations on one branch. (Good thing they never realized that the decorations spread out a little over the evening and after they had gone to bed!)
And here is some of the food for the evening. (One of the parts my hubby and I look forward to a bunch!)
Our final product!
A few other touches. . .

Merry decorating for the holidays!

Picture again

Just thought I would post a photo again (for my family far away!) I know, these black and white photos of a blurry alien get old after a while, but over here, we can't get enough of them!
We had the excitement of getting another ultrasound again this week--only this time it included a fetal echo cardiogram. At my doctor's visit, there was a little problem with the heartbeat. Baby D decided to consistently skip heartbeats. So a day later I was scheduled with an appointment at Women's. I have to say, on the "geeky" side of this all, it was pretty cool to see a close-up of the teensy baby's heart. And they showed us the chambers and the pumping of the heart in colour and how the heart worked already this early in baby's life. The room was full of doctors (cardiologist-types) and technicians, which was quite different from any other ultrasound we have had so far. (It almost felt like a House episode!) The good news is that Baby D is fine. Nothing to worry about in terms of his or her little heart. We also learned that the hemorrhage is clearing up slowly, but will probably stick around for the remainder of the pregnancy. Otherwise, all is good, and for that we are so thankful!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Future Little One

Last week I had one more ultrasound. This was supposed to be the routine 18-20+ week one. . .you know, the one where you can get a whole bunch of teeny-tiny pre-mature pictures of your future baby that leave you guessing about what he or she might look like or act like or even become? Well, this was it for us. The technician must have been having a grumpy day--she didn't share too much with us at all! Kinda disappointing (in my humble opinion), but this is our little future family member nonetheless!
On the positive side, there is something special to me in seeing a little baby, especially as we draw closer to the Christmas season. In the midst of the beautiful parts of Christmas--the decorations, the lights, the everything--and then to think that God sent His only Son into this world in the form of a teeny-tiny baby in a lowly stable to brand new parents whose only prior qualifications were that they fully trusted in God. "Children are a gift from God." (Psalm 127:3)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekend in LaConnor

This past weekend my hubby and I went away to La Connor. After living in Washington for a few plus years, this is one area I had never been to. so now was a perfect time to check it out! We had the chance to walk around the town and bay and visit the stores, shops and artisans who make this town so unique.

This is the first signs of Christmas we saw. . .this is the Bed and Breakfast we stayed at: The Wild Iris Inn. It was absolutely beautiful! The lobby and gathering room was decked out for the Christmas season and so cozy.
We ate dinner at this restaurant, Seeds Bistro and Bar.
Here are some of the pictures from walking around the town. . .just some of the things we saw.
Fire museum photo for my hubby.

This was my favourite shop. When A was a baby, she had a cute little bunny outfit and blanket from this store. They make so many great story books, clothes items and of course some vintage-type bunnies. It is designed like a great big nursery with the "workshop" in the back. Very cute!
And here are a few more pictures of The Wild Iris.

Above is our welcome in our room. This place was absolutely amazing! Everything was placed so perfectly. It was so warm and cozy. . . our room had its own small deck and the view wasn't so bad either--we sure lucked out with having some sunshine fr the weekend amidst all the usual rain for this time of year! And the food was phenomenal! We were greeted with these lovely flowers and cookies (you have to understand--these cookies were the size of a pie!And delish!) In the morning we had a two course breakfast. The owners/staff were so friendly and warm. i would definitely recommend this place to anyone who needs a weekend away!

Menu Plan Monday

It is Monday again! A busy week again for me. . .report card writing, my LAST assignment for my course due. . .and all the ins and outs of regular life! But here is what we are eating anyway!

Monday-left-overs (too much food from Sunday-see my last post)
Tuesday- my original plan was Tuna Buns, but we'll probably have more left-overs (too much food--Pizza Buns to finish off!)
Wednesday (S&S)-Chicken Salad or Egg Salad on pitas and Cheddar Broccoli soup
Thursday (CP)-Chicken Pot Pie recipe with crescent rolls
Friday-Ham, Roasted Potatoes, carrots
Saturday's Snack-Peppermint Fudge Brownies
Sunday (BFS)- Egg McMuffin-type deals

Mmm. . .do you see the photo of the brownies? By Saturday, I think I'll need a small Christmas treat like that!
{Photo is from, a very cute blog I stumbled upon!}

Monday, November 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Well this week will be an interesting one. . . Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! I have Parent-Teacher Conferences for two of the nights, so I'm not around for all of the suppers. :) Hopefully this still gives you a few ideas!

Can I also just add that from last week the Slow Cooker Gingered Beef was AMAZING!?!?!?! If you try nothing at all, try that one. If you are new to crock-potting, try that one. It is yum-a-licious!

Monday- Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes (Thank you, Mom!!!)
Tuesday-Chicken Wraps (not sure what kind yet. . .Asian or Fajitas. . .)
Wednesday- Conferences--kids out with Opa and Oma
Thursday- Conferences. . .Mac 'n Cheese or Grilled Cheese?
Friday-Waikiki Meatballs (minus the peppers and cherries--ew!), rice
Saturday-no snack. . . today. Just wait until tomorrow! We'll probably have leftovers or so instead today.
Sunday- not breakfast. . .see below!

Sunday is Christmas Tree Day! I know, it's kinda early! Here is the story. . .

Long ago, my husband asked me to marry him on December 1. (I obviously said yes!) The following year, when we were married, we decided to do something special on that day, but all the restaurants we liked in town were closed and we landed up getting a whole bunch of appies and spending the evening at home instead. The next year, we were kinda thinking about getting a tree for the first time, and decided to combine the appies tradition with the tree. . .and it has stuck ever since. So, that is our way of celebrating our engagement anniversary (we never seem to get around to celebrating our actual anniversary!) and our way of starting Christmas.

The difference now is that we have kids who like in on the action, and celebrating it on the 1st cuts in to a week routine and all, so we are doing it on Sunday instead. We've also changed to doing some store-bought and some home-made appies (aka: junk supper!). So, here is what we are planning. . .
Teriyaki Chicken Wings
CP Pizza Dip
Pigs in a Blanket (a kid and hubby favourite!) or this one (we add cheese slices though!)
Mediterranean hors d'oeuvres (compliments of PC brand)

I'll let you know how it all goes. . .but if you are looking for some appies for the holiday season (or in our case to start the holiday season, there you go!)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Report Writing in Primary Grades

This past month we studied Africa and its desert areas as part of our Theme. One Language Arts activity I tied into this unit was research and report writing. Since this sounds like a scary thing to try out in the first term of grade one, I will show you what I did! It takes some time and planning, but the results are GREAT!

First of all, we did a report on elephants as an entire class. (We chose elephants because we were using our Kidogo Project (an opportunities for students to take home an African package, complete with a stuffy, a book, and postcards that each student has to make that night). We read one book, collected facts and wrote them on chart paper. We cut these "big " facts into strips and glued them onto other pieces of chart paper titled, Home, Appearance, Food, and Other. This was our "practice report writing."

Our next job was to choose a desert animal to research. It was a unanimous vote for camels.

Next, I prepared a page that listed those same research topics (home, appearance, food and other), followed by some blank spots. Along with their grade four buddies, my grade one students looked at some website about camels. The grade four buddies would read some of the information to the grade one buddies, and together they would write down one fact they learned under each heading.

After that, I compiled all these facts (and a few more) onto lined paper. I photocopied this onto different coloured paper, for my four table groups to use.
Then each table group also got a matching coloured pocket folder.
I cut all these sentences into strips. Their next job was to read the sentences and place them in the correct topic pocket. (I have a few high readers that were able to help out two groups, I led one, and my EA led one. In the past, I have also assigned parent helpers to come in during centre time to do this same job.)
Here are the strips in the pockets. . .
Then, each day we did one topic. they got their "report paper," pulled out the sentence strips that went along with the topic, and chose one to start copying. Each student had to copy two sentences, and they could do more if more fit or if they had extra time. They also got directed drawing pages about camels so they could make a picture that matched what the sentences said.Here is a final copy of the cover. I led them in a directed drawing activity to draw a camel on the cover of their report. . .
Here are some examples of the inside pages:
One page at the end that we are not quite finished with yet, is one called "praise." On this page we will write a few sentences of our own in praise or prayer to God about how He created the African camel so unique and able to survive in desert conditions (more like a journal or prayer journal activity). We did an "Eric Carle" piece of artwork about camels, (hopefully I will post about that soon!) and this report will hang beside their artwork on a hallway bulletin board to show the school the great work we did!!!